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SMU empowers students to tell engaging stories with AI tools for Singtel with Publicis Singapore

SINGAPORE — Using as many as five Artificial Intelligence (AI) tools, 37 undergraduates from Singapore Management University (SMU) created engaging video stories on Singtel’s impact on digital inclusion. The videos were deliverables of a workshop organized by the University together with Publicis Groupe, one of the largest marketing and communications networks in the world, as part of a 13-week SMU-X course titled “Storytelling for Organizations and Brands” offered at the Lee Kong Chian School of Business (LKCSB).

The workshop exposed students to the latest available AI tools and technology. It also challenged them to conceptualize and create engaging, impactful and memorable stories and characters for various audiences and media, and apply what they have learnt in real world client projects.

Their project brief was developed by creative agency Leo Burnett Singapore, which is part of Publicis Groupe Singapore. The brief was to create a compelling story focussed on digital inclusion, using the latest AI storytelling tools such as Runway Gen2, Meta AudioCraft, ChatGPT, ElevenLabs, Lexica, DreamStudio and Clipdrop.


This is the second time Publicis Groupe Singapore and SMU have teamed up to give students practical, hands-on experience using the latest AI tools so as to prepare them for the future creative workplace. It is the first time, however, that this workshop, led by LKCSB Professor of Communication Management Mark Chong and Publicis Groupe Head of Creative Technology APAC Laurent Thevenet involved a real brand.

Singtel Singapore Brand Marketing Director Bill Ang said, “AI is already transforming many facets of life. At Singtel, we are leveraging this technology to ideate and co-create in ways that will enhance customer experiences and drive learning. It’s great to see the energy and creativity of the work from the SMU students. Their submissions have been incredibly inspiring and have given us much food for thought.”

The top 10 films were showcased in a mini film festival at SMU on November 08, 2023.

“As a telecommunications leader, Singtel knows how important it is for students to take new risks and try new processes using the latest technologies. It has been an honor partnering with the largest mobile network operator in Singapore to encourage a new generation to embrace AI and push the edge of new possibilities,” explained Professor Chong.

Laurent added, “This collaboration with Singtel has given a new cohort of 37 SMU students an advantage in the future workplace. AI is fundamentally changing the creative process, and although human creativity is more important than ever, learning how to partner with machines to create something out of the ordinary will become an essential skill for graduates.”

Having delivered the best short films in their class, five undergraduates were awarded with internship opportunities with Singtel and Publicis Groupe. Belinda Liau, Elvis Ng and Fong Zhi Yen have been offered a full-time, 12-week summer internship as part of Singtel’s Management Associate Program. As interns, they can continue to apply their skills in the Singtel business and will have more opportunities to enact digital change for the community. Ang Tze Yu and Muhammad Gaizchary Putra have been offered internships at Leo Burnett Singapore and Publicis Singapore, where they will have the opportunity to apply their creative storytelling skills and AI learnings to business challenges.

The jury panel included Bill Ang of Singtel; Jean-Francois Thery, Head of Growth at Publicis Communications, Singapore; and Tommy Tan, Head of Strategy at Publicis Media, Singapore.

Jean-Francois said: “Singtel has always been at the forefront of pushing the best in technology for Singapore, so it’s been an incredible experience working with SMU students to help prepare them for the future workplace – we’re thrilled with their creations.”

The “Storytelling for Organizations and Brands” course taught by Professor Chong introduces students to the science and art of storytelling for organizations and brands, drawing from fields such as neuroscience, psychology, data science and the narrative arts. Being an SMU-X course, it features project-based experiential learning where students work in small groups and apply their interdisciplinary knowledge on real-world projects with industry and faculty mentors.

In recent years, the University has also started offering SMU-X Overseas (SMU-XO) modules which give students the opportunity to work on projects with overseas organizations. In the current academic year 2023-24, more than 50 SMU-X and SMU-XO modules are being offered, with more than 2,700 students partnering with organizations across all sectors.

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